Sourcing meat locally for decades
Cashells Family Butchers have been sourcing their lamb and beef from the same local farms for up to 35 years, not just out of loyalty, but because they believe it delivers the very best quality for their customers.
“With our suppliers, you know exactly how the animal has been reared, what the welfare standards are, and what the quality of the meat will be,” says Arran Cashell who runs MT Cashell with his brother Durwyn and 12 staff, most of them drawn from three generations of the Cashell family. “There is a lot of cheap meat around, but we won’t try to compete with that,” he says.
While we are speaking to Arran, his lamb supplier, farmer Mick Wright from Tretower (3 miles away) rings to ask how many lambs Cashells will need that week? Ten lambs will be taken to the abattoir in Talgarth (12 miles) to be slaughtered before Cashells pick them up. The total food miles from farm to shop is just 20 miles.
“It’s better for the environment and less distressing for the lambs,” says Arran and that means the meat tastes better: “If a lamb is travelling long distances or hanging around for hours before it is slaughtered then the meat is tougher. On average we will buy 10 lambs a week from Mike, and if we need a few more, we can just let him know.”
Cashells’ beef is reared two miles away in Llanbedr. The Rees family have been raising South Devon cross Aberdeen Angus cattle on the pastures there for three decades. Exercising on mountain pasture disperses the fat through the muscles giving “consistent marbling and great flavour” says Arran.
The pork comes from ‘Great Taste Award’ Winners, Forest Coalpit Farm. They have a herd of free-range Welsh Black pigs which are a cross of rare breeds and are slower growing than the more common white breeds. They live outside all their lives in woodland and on pasture where they can forage for grass, roots and nuts. All of this, says Arran, gives more fat and a better flavour.
“You will pay a little bit more for our meat, but when he started the business our Dad told us ‘stick to quality, and you can’t go wrong’, and that is what we do.”
But has Arran ever considered going for a cheaper source of meat? “We have had people come in here and say they can supply us for 20 pence a kilo cheaper, but we are loyal and we say ‘No’. Our suppliers look after us, and we look after them,” Arran says.
M.T Cashells has been trading in Crickhowell High Street for 45 years. As well as meat, they sell a wide range of deli goods, including local honey, jams, pickles, cheeses and cooked meats.
“We would like to sell more local produce,” says Arran “but it is not always possible.” Cashell’s source their chicken from Herefordshire and Yorkshire because, they say, there is no-one locally producing free-range chicken. “We are very pleased with the quality of the chicken we get, but we would happily support a local farmer who was able to supply us. It’s what we have been doing for decades.”
Most of their fruit and veg comes from Abergavenny-based wholesaler, Phillip Jones, who will source locally grown products when available, although most of it comes from England and abroad. Likewise, Cashell’s will buy from local growers during the harvest season.
Arran says: “We will always buy local and sell local wherever we can. We are loyal to each other in Crickhowell, and we believe in looking after each other.”
Article and photographs by Tim Jones, As You See It Media
Cashells Butchers & DelicatessenShop
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